An astonishing number of crucial design decisions have been taken by sketching out an innovative idea over whatever is at hand. The National Football League’s Vince Lombardi Trophy was first drawn on a napkin, as was the design idea for Southwest Airlines.
These abruptly quick drawings resulted in the evolution of the foundation for something greater, that was fine-tuned and reiterated to become a design icon or a successful airline business. Wireframe tools offer the same scalability to every website designer, helping them to create a rough sketch of their ideas and get the basic founding blocks in the right place so that the overall design can be evaluated and fine-tuned.
There are loads of quality wireframe tools available in the market. For helping the average website designer provide the most comprehensive website design services, we have tailored a list of the 5 best wireframe tools in the market.
But, before we dive right in, let us get to know a wee bit more about wireframe tools.
Wireframe tools: What are they?
Wireframe tools help designers quickly and effectively create a mockup of the outline of a design in the easiest way possible. Wireframe tools allow website designers to drag-and-drop placeholders for images, headers, and content and help in moving them around for crafting a primary draft that can be fine-tuned later on.
Wireframe tools: Their purpose
Wireframing helps designers in working out the basics of the interface of a page, like how much space needs to be allocated for certain elements, content prioritization, functionalities, and behaviors. A website designer can use wireframe tools for designing the basic layout of a webpage along with the following benefits:
- Connects the information architecture of a website to the visual design by marking the paths between the pages.
- Develops consistent methods of showing information of different kinds on the UI.
- Determines intended functionalities.
- Prioritizes content creation depending on the location of the content and the overall space that has been allocated to that specific type of content.
What are the makings of a great wireframe tool?
You do not require a dedicated wireframe tool – a flowchart app works just fine. But some functionalities of a great wireframe tool can help an average website designer become a professional.
The benefits of a great wireframe tool are:
- A great wireframe tool will include a built-in or uploadable UI kit.
- A great wireframe tool will allow you to scale from a basic grayscale low-fidelity mockup to a graphically superior high-fidelity mockup.
- A great wireframe tool will allow collaborative working through its digital interface since we all are working remotely in this post-pandemic age.
- Last but not the least, a great wireframe tool will allow export options that help designers in exporting sections of a finished mockup as an HTML file or quickly access the basic CSS code for faster implementation of the development process.
Now, that we know about wireframe tools, let’s talk about the top 5 wireframe tools for every website designer.
Top 5 wireframe tools
Given below is the list of the top 5 wireframe tools that will help every website designer provide top-drawer website design services.
Figma tops this list due to the combination of powerful cloud-based design software and you can build 3 projects for free before moving on to their paid plans. Using Figma is as simple and straightforward as can be.
While Figma is not equipped with in-built UI components, it sports the option of uploading your own or using a pre-designed kit. In Figma, you can craft artboards, add in basic shapes and text, and do a specific level of sampling/prototyping very easily.
The entire design optimization is handled in one panel, which helps in quickly moving between different artboards, layers, and pages without getting the designer overwhelmed. Figma helps in optimizing the user experience for mobile devices due to the availability of the in-built Figma constraints that help in displaying how each element will respond to different screen sizes of different devices.
Additionally, Figma offers great collaborative options by allowing multiple team members to access and edit the design and leave comments. After the mockup is completed, the CSS code can be accessed and the individual elements can be exported.
- Adobe XD
This vector-based design tool has been designed to work in tandem with other Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Stock making Adobe XD one of the best wireframe tools on the market that you will be shelling out some bucks for.
Adobe XD focuses on making the wireframing process as efficient and easy as possible for website designers. The tools to create site maps, flowcharts, and storyboards, and the exhaustive set of prototyping tools make the job easier for the website designer.
Available for both Windows and macOS, Adobe XD focuses on giving designers the tools that help in creating the design as fast as possible with the help of repeated grid options, auto-animation, and voice-controlled triggers. Adobe XD is also equipped with a comprehensive set of tools for collaboration purposes.
For accessing the full functionalities of Adobe XD, you need to get subscribed to Adobe. This is the only downside to this wonderful wireframe tool.
Sketch was an instant hit when it braced the market in 2010 because it helped in revolutionizing the way wireframing tools were used and the ability of the wireframe tools before the launch of Sketch.
Although it is not available on Windows, the simple and interactive interface and the main focus on the creation of effective user interfaces and icon vector design make it a must-use for designers who love working on their Mac devices.
Just like Figma, Sketch is not equipped with its very own in-built UI library. But, since Sketch is so popular, there are loads of third-party UI kits that are available for uploading. One of the most fascinating features of Sketch is the Symbol function. This function helps in crafting elements that show up automatically across the entire layout.
Sketch also provides a free trial, after which you can settle for an upfront fee instead of paying for an ongoing subscription.
- Balsamiq Wireframes
This simple web-based tool is available for both Windows and Mac. Balsamiq Wireframes is a simple and effective wireframe tool that helps designers out by crafting quick wireframe designs.
Compared to the other more comprehensive tools in this list, Balsamiq Wireframes is best described as quick and dirty due to the hand-drawn style reminiscent of the hand-drawn outline on a napkin.
Most of the elements in Balsamiq Wireframes are drag-and-drop, all the while giving the designers the ability to use a drag-and-drop editor for arranging pre-defined widgets, that helps in lowering the learning curve.
The primary drawback to Balsamiq Wireframes is the lack of high-fidelity animations making it not an ideal tool for performing any sort of large-scale prototyping.
This wireframe tool is compatible with both Mac and Windows devices and has been designed specifically for the less tech-savvy designers. Justinmind’s platform is easy for learning and a lot less complex than other options in this list – Figma or Sketch.
The developers intended to make the UI simplistic without compromising on the functionality. The platform is built for creating wireframes that can be tested like prototypes from the very beginning and it comes loaded with a host of interactive prototype elements.
Justinmind is also equipped with a wide array of in-built UI elements, as well as a plethora of widgets for iOS, SAP, and Android. You can also make use of custom styling options for editing the included elements or import your own. After the work is complete, you can export the prototype as an HTML file.
These are our top 5 wireframe tools used for providing the most comprehensive website design services, and we hope that this blog helps you in choosing the right wireframing tool for your career as a website designer.